Legal – Cases – Cyber Patrol (Microsystems v. Scandinavia Online)Case Name:
Microsystems Software, Inc. v. Scandinavia Online AB, Case No. 00-cv10488-EFH, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
In March of 2000 young computer enthusiasts Eddy L. O. Jansson and Matthew Skala, created a program “cphack” which allowed the decryption of the web filtering product Cyber Patrol, for the claimed purpose of exposing errors in Cyber Patrol’s filtering database. Microsystems Software and its parent company Mattel sued Jansson, Skala, and the ISPs that hosted their personal Web sites, Scandinavia Online and Islandnet, for copyright infringement. The ISPs took down the websites, but many Internet activists began hosting dozens of copies of cphack. Mattel gained a restraining order against providing copies of cphack, and began sending subpoenas to the owners of websites hosting cphack. The ACLU intervened on behalf of Jansson and Skala, but then Mattel reached an out-of-court settlement with the pair that included buying the rights to cphack.
The trial judge entered a permanent injunction against distributing cphack. The ACLU appealed the injunction to the First Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of website owners that were hosting cphack. The appellate court ruled the ACLU’s plaintiffs had no standing to appeal, and dismissed the case.
Chronology & Legal Documents:
03/18/00 Mattel files complaint
03/19/00 Mattel files legal brief in support of complaint
03/24/00 ACLU files motion to quash subpoenas
03/24/00 ACLU files motion in opposition to injunction
03/28/00 Judge issues permanent injunction
06/07/00 ACLU files appeal with 1st Cir. Court of Appeals
09/27/00 1st Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses appeal